Monday, April 10, 2006

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata

Playing on the iPod is the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, beautifully performed by Maria João Pires. The melody is mysterious, almost haunting, and incredibly romantic.

The original title of the sonata is Sonata Quasi una fantasia (in Italian, "almost a fantasy"). The popular title of Moonlight Sonata didn’t come about until several years after Beethoven’s death: in 1836, German music critic, Ludwig Rellstab wrote that the sonata reminded him of the reflected moonlight off Lake Lucerne and, since then, Moonlight Sonata has remained the “official” unofficial title of this masterpiece.

Beethoven composed the sonata in 1801 and dedicated it to Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, a pupil of his, with whom he was in love. It is believed that Beethoven then proposed to her; yet, although she was willing, forbiddance by one of her parents prevented the two from marrying. He was 30 and she was 17.

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